Dances by Isadora – Boston, Massachusetts

Photo credit: Julie Cordeiro Photography

Exploring, preserving, and sharing the repertoire and technique of Isadora Duncan.

Dances by Isadora was founded in 1989 by Patricia Adams and Catherine Gallant in the Boston area. Patt and Catherine taught and performed together primarily in solos and duets (with pianist Vivian Taylor) from 1986-1993. The Boston group grew to include local dancers who had studied with Patt and Catherine at Dean College, the Boston Conservatory, MIT and the Dance Complex. Catherine returned to NYC in 1993 and began working with dancers who would also perform in her own contemporary choreography. We are proud to say that Dances by Isadora maintains a base of activity in both New York and Boston with connections to the international Duncan community.

The Boston group, Dances by Isadora Boston, is co-directed by Kelli Edwards and Sandra Zarotney Keldsen. 

Dances by Isadora Boston’s mission is to share the work of modern dance pioneer and feminist, Isadora Duncan (1877-1927).  The company is also dedicated to the growth of new work which comments on history and culture while making connections from the past to the present.  Considered the Mother of Modern Dance, Duncan drew inspiration from nature and natural movements as well as classical Greek art and myths to develop an entirely new way of moving that freed the body of both physical and social constraints. Dances by Isadora is committed to educating audiences/students of all ages through touring its educational programs and performances.

Upcoming Performances/events:

Dance For World Community  – Free Event!

Saturday, June 8 at 1:30pm

Ballet Theatre of Boston Sanctuary Theatre

More info here! 

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The Roaring Twenties Lawn Party

August 3-4, 2024,

Get your tickets here

Reimagine the Roaring Twenties with this 2-day lawn party set on Castle Hill on the Crane Estate. Here you’ll find 1920s jazz, antique autos, a vintage fair, flappers and dandies, and picnickers galore.  Dances by Isadora Boston has performed at this event for the past three years.

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Company Members

Patricia Adams  (Co-Founder) began performing Duncan’s work in 1977 as a member of the Isadora Duncan Repertory Dance Company, under the direction of Sylvia Gold. In 1989 she co-founded Dances by Isadora with Catherine Gallant. She has performed and taught throughout the United States, in Russia, Japan, Hungary, Finland, and Canada, and at numerous colleges and studios in the Boston area. In addition to many years of study with Sylvia Gold, her teachers include Julia Levein, Hortense Kooluris, and Gemze DeLappe, and her long-time collaborator, Catherine Gallant. Now semi-retired, she continues to perform with Dances by Isadora and is a Psychotherapist in private practice in Sharon, MA.

Kelli Edwards (Co-Director) joined Dances by Isadora in 1996 under the tutelage of Patricia Adams. Kelli is Co-Director of Dances by Isadora Boston and choreographs new work for the company in the style of Isadora Duncan through a contemporary lens. Kelli has also performed with choreographers Marcus Schulkind, David Parker, Sara Rudner, Ruth Birnberg, Brian Crabtree, Daniel McCusker and in her own work. Her choreography has been presented at Dance Umbrella, Dance Now Boston and Soaking Wet in NYC. She has choreographed numerous shows at The New Rep, The Huntington, American Repertory Theatre, and Actors’ Shakespeare Project among others. Kelli is currently on the performing arts faculty at Milton Academy.

Sandra Zarotney Keldsen (Co-Director)  began her exploration of the Duncan work at the Boston Conservatory with Dances by Isadora co-founder Catherine Gallant.  Sandra joined Dances by Isadora upon completing her BFA at the Conservatory, and has taught and performed with the company ever since, training with Duncan master teachers Sylvia Gold, Patricia Adams and Catherine Gallant. Sandra has performed in the Boston area with Daniel McCusker, Lorraine Chapman and Kelli Edwards.  She is a 200 Hour YTT certified yoga instructor and  teaches dance and yoga at Center Stage Performing Arts Studio in Quincy, MA.  When she is not dancing, Sandra is Director of Operations for Institutes and Lifelong Learning Programs at the Boston University Questrom School of Business.

Alison Ball has been dancing in the Boston area since her relocation here in 1996. She happily worked with Pat Adams soon after arriving and after a long hiatus she returns to work with the beautiful Dances by Isadora dancers. She has also danced with Daniel McCusker, Brian Crabtree, Caitlin Corbett, Kelli Edwards, Audra Carabetta, Marjorie Morgan, Debra Bluth, and Joan Green. She holds an MFA from George Washington University and currently works as a physical therapy assistant

Jennifer Binversie began her dance training at the Jean Wolfmeyer School of Dance and continued on scholarship at the Virginia School of the Arts, later graduating from the Alabama School of Fine Arts under the direction of David Keener. Her summers were spent studying at various dance intensives, most notably Interlochen Center for the Arts, Milwaukee Ballet, Atlanta Ballet, and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. Upon graduating from the University of Hartford- Hartt School, with a dance pedagogy degree and minors in entrepreneurial studies and performing arts management, Binversie began dancing overseas in the South Pacific aboard Holland America Cruise Line. Upon returning to the US, Binversie headed the dance department at a private boarding high school in downeast Maine, where she developed a new curriculum for the dancers that included abstract movement. She has performed in works by George Balanchine, Antony Tudor, Martha Graham, Jose Limon, and Isadora Duncan. Binversie is also an active company member of Dances by Isadora, performing classical Duncan technique, and Rosewood Dance Collaborative, a contemporary movement company. Binversie has also performed with NACHMO Boston and Malden Dance Mile. She has taught dance at Interlochen Center for the Arts, and Boston Ballet where her choreography was presented on the international stage. Binversie has completed educational teacher trainings at  the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, and Boston Ballet’s Adaptive Dance Teacher Training, where she has consistently been a guest presenter. Binversie holds her Masters Degree in Arts Leadership and Cultural Management from Colorado State University and is excited to be part of the Duncan lineage.

Joelle Garfi holds an MFA from Smith College. In Boston she has danced and collaborated with many choreographers, including Caitlin Corbet, Brian Crabtree, Daniel McCusker and Marcus Schulkind. As a member of the Harvard Summer Dance Center, Joelle studied and danced in the works of Donald Byrd, Sean Curran, David Dorfman and Bill T Jones/Arnie Zane. Currently Joelle owns and teaches at her pilates studio in Brookline, MA. Joelle is delighted to have the opportunity to learn the dances of Isadora Duncan with such a lovely and talented group of dancers.

Cara Grady holds a BA in Dance and Performance Studies and a minor in Global Communication from Roger Williams University. While at university, she studied Bartenieff Fundamentals, Laban Movement, Cunningham Technique, Contact Improvisation, and many somatic movement practices.  She has worked with Shawn Ahern, Mike Tyus, Nattie Trogdon, Hollis Bartlett, and Nicole Gallo. Cara spent a semester in London researching movement and current performances. While there she worked with Renaud Wiser and Stephen Pelton. During her time a Roger Williams she choreographed two pieces and a solo work.  She joined Dances by Isadora in her first year post graduation and she teaches dance within the Merrimack Valley.

Jenna Gross is a dancer, choreographer, and multi-media artist from Westford, MA. They received their BA in Dance and Performance with a minor in Graphic Design Communications from Roger Williams University.  Jenna has worked with Lorriane Chapman (LCTC), Catherine Siller, Eliza Malecki, Natalie Johnson Dance, Providence Ballet Theatre. Their current research and practice revolves around kinesthetically sound movement and exploring dynamic partnering. Their passion for comedy intertwines within their practice by discovering quirky movements and poking fun at the prestige of dance.  Jenna is also the codirector of Rose Woods Dance Collaborative, a performance art-focused dance theatre company, along side Jillian MacLaughlin. Their work approaches social commentary through pantomime-inspired comedy and absurdism. The main focus of their choreographic work is to make serious topics into jokes and to take jokes seriously. When Jenna is not dancing she can be found knitting, creating ceramic pieces, or acquiring another craft hobby.

Irene Lutts has been dancing in the Boston area most of her life. Over the years she has had the honor of performing with many wonderful choreographers including Caitlin Corbett, Marcus Schulkind, Daniel McCusker, Brian Crabtree, Lorraine Chapman The Company, Kelli Edwards, Back Porch Dance Company, Jody Weber, and most recently Peter DiMuro/Public Displays of Motion. She is delighted to be learning the work of Isadora Duncan and performing with these beautiful women.

Jillian MacLaughlin is a Boston-based dance performance artist, choreographer and educator from the seacoast of New Hampshire. Jillian graduated Magna Sum Laude from Roger Williams University with a BA in Dance and Performance Studies. During her time in the RWU Dance Theatre, she worked with an array of professional guest artists and spent the fall of 2018 studying in London, England. In the fall of 2019, she choreographed her senior thesis work entitled “Overshoot”, an abstract movement research surrounding the world’s climate crisis and its societal implications.  After graduating in 2020, Jillian began teaching students of all ages across the New England area. She has had the pleasure of dancing for Natalie Johnson Dance, Amy Stacy Curtis, Eliza Malecki, and Lorraine Chapman the Company. In 2022 she established Rose Woods Dance Collaborative, a comedy centered modern dance theater collective co-directed by Jenna Gross. RWDC strives to delve into social commentary through pantomime inspired movement with a whimsical and jocose approach. The primary focus of their choreographic work is to make serious topics into jokes and to take jokes seriously.  When Jillian is not dancing she can be found making a mean cup of coffee at a local café, singing at the top of her lungs or enjoying the company of her cat companion Milo.

Colleen Quinn teaches movement, music and theatre arts at Inly School in Scituate. She holds an MFA in Performance and Choreography from Smith College where she was introduced to the Isadora Duncan technique by the incomparable Gemze deLappe. Colleen is a frequent choreographer at TheaterPlus!, BowMassey Labs, Inly Players and Bridgewater State University. Most recently, Colleen performed in the original musical, The Pony Express, and can be heard on the cast album, available everywhere! Colleen is thrilled to be able to revive, recreate and reinvent Isadora Duncan’s work and is so grateful to do so with such lovely and talented company members.

Maya Slocum began her studies with the Jose Mateo Ballet Theater and performed for several years in the company’s production of The Nutcracker. Later she studied ballet under Cosmin and Melinda Marculetiu with the International Ballet Academy of Norwell. She has performed with David Parker and The Bang Group in Boston, and is currently a member of the Vassar Repertory Dance Theater at Vassar College. She was introduced to Duncan as a student of Kelli Edwards’ and is honored to continue learning and performing this work with Dances By Isadora Boston.

Reviews:

Dance Review: “Dances by Isadora” – Freedom to MoveJune 26, 2019 in Artsfuse.org

Mary Paula Hunter writes that a passion for authenticity characterized Dances by Isadora Boston’s recent mesmerizing program, performed at Mount Auburn CemeterySaturday, June 22nd, 2019.

Recent Performances

Roaring Twenties Lawn Party: Reimagining the Jazz Age

Reimagine the Roaring Twenties with this 2-day lawn party set on Castle Hill on the Crane Estate. Here you’ll find 1920s jazz, antique autos, a vintage fair, flappers and dandies, and picnickers galore.  Dances by Isadora Boston has performed at this event for the past three years.  We look forward to next year’s event.  Check here for details.

Dances of the Spirit: The Works of Isadora Duncan at Longfellow Park
5 Longfellow Park, Cambridge, MA – August 2019

Inspired by the work of iconic New England artist Daniel Chester French, the sculptor of the Longfellow Memorial, the company will perform an original piece choreographed in response to French’s masterwork “Mourning Victory” alongside repertoire by Isadora Duncan, who was French’s friend and contemporary. The performance will explore our community spaces, our community memorials, and our living bodies in motion. The performance will be followed by a workshop on Duncan’s technique for audience members of all ages.

Dances of the Spirit: The Works of Isadora Duncan
Mount Auburn Cemetery, Mt. Auburn St. Cambridge, MA – June 2019

Known as the “mother of modern dance,” Isadora Duncan created a series of mourning dances following the accidental deaths of her two children in 1913. Dances by Isadora will perform these evocative dances of wind, sea, darkness, and light in Hazel Dell.

Benefit Celebration for the 50th Anniversary of Chesterwood as a National Trust Historic Site on June 1, 2019 Gala Benefit Performance, and June 9, 2019, Community Day Performance

   

Dances by Isadora Boston and Friends of Mount Auburn present:
Dances of the Spirit: The Works of Isadora Duncan- June 2018

 

We were thrilled to be part of the Jacob’s Pillow 85th Anniversary Season! Inside/Out Series, Thursday, July 13 at 6:15pm.  Our program featured historic work by Duncan including Nocturne and Bacchanal as well as Allegretto, with choreography by Catherine Gallant, the director and co-founder of Dances by Isadora, inspired by Duncan’s 1908 work to the music of Beethoven.

  • Dances of the Spirit: The Works of Isadora Duncan.  Mount Auburn Cemetery, Saturday, June 24th, 2017 at 2pm. $10 for Friends of Mount Auburn members and $20 for the public. Known as the “mother of modern dance,” Isadora Duncan created a series of mourning dances following the accidental deaths of her two children in 1913. Dances by Isadora will perform these evocative dances of wind, sea, darkness, and light in Hazel Dell. 
  • Workshop Series at Berkshire Pulse  https://berkshirepulse.org/events/
  • The Life and Art of Isadora Duncan at the Thomas Crane Public Library, Richardson Room, Quincy, MA.  Sunday, April 30th, 2017, 3pm.    Come witness a rare glimpse of the classic beauty and haunting honesty that shocked audiences nearly a century ago and made dance history in a spectacular performance by Dances by Isadora – Boston, dedicated to preserving her work as a living art.  
  • Sandra Zarotney Keldsen was interviewed on Quincy Public Access Television  speaking about the Quincy Library event.
  • Southern Vermont Dance Festival (SVDF) Gala Performance at the Latchis Theater, Brattleboro, VT – July 15, 2016, 8pm
  • Southern Vermont Dance Festival (SVDF) Isadora Duncan Master Classes at the Latchis Theater, Brattleboro, VT – July 16, 2016 – Beginner Level 9:15-10:45am, Advanced Level 11:30am-1pm
  • Shaker Dance Revival 2016 at the Canterbury Shaker Village, New Hampshire
  • Isadora Duncan International Symposium 2015, Chicago, IL
  • Cambridge Multicultural Center April 2015
  • The Dance Complex, September 2014
  • Mount Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge, MA
  • Keene Public Library, Keene NH
  • Somerville Arts Council presents: Dancing in the Streets
  • Old Saybrook, CT – Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center, 2nd Annual Dance for Peace
  • Medford Arts Council, Royall House
  • Stonehill College
  • Tufts University Friday Performances

Sandra Zarotney-Keldsen, Kelli Edwards, Patricia Adams

Photo Credit: Julie Cordeiro Photography

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All photos by Julie Cordeiro.

Unless Otherwise Noted, Photo Credits: Julie Cordeiro Photography

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